After the razor thin failure of a substitute levy in November, the Swanton Board of Education has decided to go a slightly different route as they look to keep a revenue stream for the district.
The Board on Wednesday approved placing a levy on the ballot in May as a renewal of the current emergency levy.
The substitute levy, which would leave the same tax collected from current property owners, but allow additional collection from new construction, was defeated by two votes in November. Voters in Lucas County were particularly averse to the levy with 314 votes against and 174 for.
Since the levy is one that has been on the book for awhile, Board members felt it was important that it specifically say it was a renewal.
“The board felt as though the verbiage on the November ballot was confusing to the voters,” said Board President Kris Oberheim. “While the substitute levy would only be an increase to new construction, the confusion of ‘substitute’ versus ‘renewal’ is, ultimately, not worth the fail.”
The emergency levy generates $825,000 each year. That amount cannot change with that type of levy.
“The district relies on this levy for approximately 5% of its revenue and levy failure would negatively impact all students of our district,” Oberheim said. “The word ‘renewal’ on the ballot is important to voters.”
On Wednesday, the Board approved a resolution to submit to the electors the question of renewing the emergency levy. A copy of the resolution will be delivered to the Fulton County Auditor who will determine the millage required to raise the $825,000.
In November, it was 3.4 mills and it will likely be the same or very similar.
The Board also approved two new certified contracts. Bethany Savage will be taking over for Laurie Sugg as a third grade teacher. Sugg retires effective Dec. 31.
Alison Burch is joining the district as a intervention specialist for second grade.
“This is a new position that is being funded with federal dollars that are designated for special education services,” said Superintendent Chris Lake. “Our caseload in grades K-2 was getting too large for one person to handle so this position is being added.”
Also at the meeting, the Board approved several donations, including $20,000 from Rotary Club of Swanton to general fund; $1,865 from Swanton Athletic Boosters to track team fundraising account, $1,500 from Tireman to PI fund for softball/baseball complex; $1,040 from Swanton Athletic Boosters for softball/baseball complex; $1,000 from Ohio Middle Level Association to Swanton Seven; $500 from Sarabia Foundation/TACKLE to Chromebook insurance protection fund; and $500 from Swanton Area Community Coalition to athletic fund.
In addition, the district will now have a bigger pool of substitute teacher candidates to choose from. The Board approved a resolution Wednesday allowing subs without bachelor’s degrees.
“We will review each sub candidate as they apply and the only additional requirement that I foresee at this time would be a minimum age of 21 years old,” said Lake. “I do not believe it would be prudent to have anyone younger than that working our buildings as a teacher substitute.”
Lake told the Board about a new spirit rock at the high school as well. The Leadership class and Denton Saunders spent the last few months reaching out to companies, getting donations, working with school administrators and planning the delivery and placement of the 43,000 pound rock, he said.
On Nov. 21 the rock was set in place with the help of Jim Warner who did the transportation, Andrew Elfort and Capital City Group who supplied the crane and operators, Shawn Baumbarger and Lucas Scott with Dunbar Mechanical Inc for supplying the crew and helping with the rigging and setting of the rock, and Andy Kirby with The Shelly Company for donating the rock. This project was completed with 100% of the supplies and labor being donated.
Elementary principal Kristi Molter reported that the Rotary Club of Swanton recently provided dictionaries to each third grade student.
She also reported that third and fourth grade students were able to attend a performance of “The Nutcracker” at the Stranahan Theater.
At the middle school, principal Matt Smith reported that seventh grade students visited the elementary to read to second graders and Italian and Community luncheons were held.
The high school has a new mascot costume thanks to the Athletic Boosters, Jason Longbrake, high school principal, reported.
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010